Top Retailers Using Social Media to Target Trends and Consumers

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Social media has exploded onto the advertising arena as a new and powerful way to target buyers. As companies continue to evolve marketing programs targeted toward Millennials, social media upstart Instagram is growing in importance as a preferred channel of advertising with teens.

A new research report from Piper Jaffray presents results from a teen survey selecting Instagram as their top social media site. They also highlight six top retail names exploiting the youth and other age bracket embracement of not only Instagram, but the other top social media sites as well.

Aeropostale Inc. (NYSE: ARO) has been in a freefall, and improving its presence via social media platforms may help the struggling franchise turn around. Many feel that the company is ripe for a buyout and takeover. Aeropostale is one of the major players in the teen retailing space, operating a network of more than 1,000 stores under its Aeropostale and P.S. by Aeropostale brands. The company’s historical ability to attract a growing and loyal customer base to its trendy apparel offerings gave it a highly profitable business model that fueled a rapid expansion around the country — a solid reason for a buyout scenario. The Thomson/First Call price target for the stock is $5.50. The stock closed Tuesday at $3.44 a share.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) shows up well in the social media race, especially on Facebook, with 19 million followers. The company has slowly but surely started to rebuild what once a very dominant brand. Its social media presence is cited as helping boost the image and sales. Investors are paid a 1.9% dividend. The consensus price target is $43.53. The stock closed Tuesday at $42.74.

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L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB) has the highest number of Facebook fans, with a total of more than 45 million spread across its multiple brands. With beautiful Victoria Secret models to grace some of its pages, it is probably not a huge surprise to anybody. L Brands also has the most Twitter followers at 4 million, and the second most on Pinterest and Instagram with 1.8 million each. The company pays investors a solid 2.4% dividend. The consensus price target is $61.33. L Brands closed Tuesday at $58.